Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday, 11/13

New movies opening today in SLC:

2012 - 3 stars

The latest disaster epic from Roland Emmerich. At least, that's what everybody else is saying. But if you think about it, it's only the second end of the world disaster epic he has directed. Think about it. The Day After Tomorrow is also about the end of the world and has a lot of stuff getting destroyed. But what else has he done? Independance Day? Sure, a lot of shit blows up, but the movie is more about the alien invasion and about how we fight back. Godzilla is just a monster movie. Godzilla wrecks part of New York but that's about it. So everybody just calm down about how many end of the world movies Emmerich has made.

This movie is a little better than The Core but not as good as Armageddon or Deep Impact. In 2012, scientists discover that the sun is sending nutrinos towards Earth. And for some reason, the nutrinos are causing the Earth's core to boil. This will eventually kill us all. That's the setup.

Our main character is the novelist Jackson Curtis (John Cusack). Curtis is divorced and when the movie begins, we see him picking his kids up to take them on vacation (I think Emmerich was a fan of War of the Worlds). Curtis's wife has a new boyfriend and his son likes the boyfriend more than his dad. This is Emmerich putting some character moments into the movie, and giving the actors some stuff to play. Any time there is a lull in the action, Cusack gets to talk to his kids about hurting his feelings, or talk to his wife about getting back together, or whatever.

When the shit hits the fan, the movie gets really fun. Unlike a director like Michael Bay, you can actually tell what is going on. When buildings are falling over and Cusack is driving around (or through) them, it is exciting. It's almost like being in one of those simulators that simulate a roller coaster or a futuristic space flight. There are quite a few scenes of cracks appearing in the ground and the characters have to outrun the cracks or fall into whatever lies beneath those cracks (I think it's magma, but sometimes it just looks like they fall into nothingness).

There are some funny parts in the movie, which is good. Every movie needs bits of humor. The ending disappointed me though. I won't give it away, but the only thing we don't know going in is how it will end. Will the Earth be destroyed like in Knowing, will we figure out a way to stop it, will just a handful of people survive, or does the crisis just kind of pass? I felt let down.

Oh, and John Cusack can apparently hold his breath for 5 minutes.

The Yes Men Fix the World - 3 1/2 stars

What if big corporations suddenly announed that they had screwed over people in third world countries, or poisoned the environment, and they were prepared to pay billions in reparations? Too good to be true. Well, of course it is. Corporations will never do anything that will lower their stock value.

In this movie, a couple of genius pranksters impersonate corporate spokesmen and say exactly that. They say they are from Dow Chemical, go on the BBC, and say they are prepared to pay billions to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, they impersonate HUD officials and announce that they are re-opening low income housing that had recently been closed. They do a couple other cool things.

These guys are geniuses, and it's a lot of fun watching their pranks unfold. Dow Chemical loses billions while their stock plummets. When the guys are found out, they are perfectly willing to go on news shows and say "Yes, it was a hoax." The reactions of the news organizations that have been duped are great.

Pirate Radio - didn't see
... but I hear it's great, and I plan to see it this weekend.

Play the Game - didn't see
... and I don't plan to. I hear it's horrible, and I have no desire to see Andy Griffith's O-face. Oh, hell no!

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